The daily routine at kindergarten

The daily routine at kindergarten
What will a typical day or week of kindergarten be like for your child? Here’s a look at how your little one will spend each day with his friends and teacher.

What will a typical day or week of kindergarten be like for your child? Here’s a look at how your little one will spend each day with his friends and teacher.

In the morning

The day often begins with a short discussion time. For example, on Mondays, the teacher might ask the children to tell everyone what they did over the weekend. This informal chat is usually followed by an activity to get them moving, such as a song or a dance.

Next, it’s often “calendar time”. The students are invited to identify the day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.) and the weather of the day (sunny, cloudy, rainy, etc.) on a board. Using illustrations, the teacher also shows them the activities for the day. The goal is to help the children situate themselves in time.

Throughout the day, the teacher varies the activities requiring concentration, like listening to a story, with more active ones, like a workshop where students manipulate blocks. Each activity lasts an average of 20 to 40 minutes; at this age, the children still have short attention spans.

During the morning schedule, a time is set aside in class for a snack. Then it’s recess. In some schools, the kindergartners go outside at the same time as the older students, but play in a small yard set up just for them. In other schools, they may break for recess at a different time from the rest of the school.


At lunchtime, the students are supervised by lunch monitors and daycare workers. Those who go home for lunch must generally do so by their own means. After lunch, there’s usually a short relaxation period of 20 to 30 minutes. Over the course of the year, this period may be replaced by calm activities such as quiet games, massages, and yoga. Then the afternoon continues with activities such as crafts, puzzles and play. At the end of the school day, the children who remain at daycare are left with their monitors, while the others go home.

Very often, the day for kindergarten students ends earlier or starts later than the other students in the school. Children in kindergarten have 23-and-a-half hours of educational services per week, compared to 25 hours for elementary school students.

A week in kindergarten

The students spend most of their class time with their teacher. They occasionally go to the school library to choose books or to the gym for a given activity.

The students are also entitled to 30 minutes each week with a specialist teacher. Each school chooses which specialist will take this period; most often it’s the gym teacher, but sometimes the time is shared with the music teacher.

Field trips may also be organized throughout the year, for example, to a museum, a theatre or a sports centre. Parents are often asked to help with these trips.

Progressive entry
For a smooth transition into kindergarten, several schools opt for a progressive entry. Models vary from school to school. On the first day, children may spend one or two hours in class. In some schools, the class is divided into two or even four groups, and each group then comes to school at a different time. This means that your child may go to school one day out of two, or for half days only.
In some schools, the progressive entry spans several days, while in other establishments it lasts only a day. In all cases, it allows the teacher and the students to get to know each other better.
These irregular hours may be hard to fit into your schedule during this period. Some schools don’t offer a progressive entry any more for this very reason, but many still consider it necessary.
It’s important to find out what your child’s schedule will be during the first two weeks of school. Some schools offer daycare for kindergartners during progressive entry, but this isn’t always the case. You may end up having to take a day off from work, ask friends and family for help, or get a sitter for your child.

Things to keep in mind

  • During the day, the teacher will alternate between activities that require more concentration and those that get the children on their feet.
  • All kindergartners are permitted half an hour each week with either the physical education teacher or the music teacher.
  • Your child’s kindergarten may have a progressive entry system; it’s therefore important to fit it into your work schedule.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Marie-Hélène Dufour, Kindergarten Teacher
Research and copywriting:
The Naître et grandir team
Updated: April 2021


Useful links and resources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.


Books for parents

  • Au retour de l’école... La place des parents dans l’apprentissage scolaire, 3e édition, M.-C. Béliveau, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2019, 272 p.
  • Les grandes émotions des tout-petits, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2020, 144 p.
  • Petit Loup entre à l’école, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2012, 96 p.
  • Petit Loup se sent bien à l’école, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2015, 96 p.

Books for kids

  • 1,2,3 à l’école, M. Dubuc, Casterman, 2020, 32 p.
  • À l’école, les grands!, texte: A. M. Bergeron, ill.: Maco, Éditions Imagine, 2012, 32 p.
  • Allons à l’école, texte: L. Charlesworth, ill.: M. Baker, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 16. p.
  • En route pour l’école, collectif, Éditions Hemma, 2015, 16 p.
  • Gédéon va à l’école, L. Wall, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 24 p.
  • J’adore l’école! texte : R. Munsch, ill. : D. Whamond, Éditions Scholastic, 2020, 32 p.
  • J’aime la maternelle avec Biscuit et Cassonade, C. Munger et C. Chabot, Éditions de la Bagnole, 2018, 48 p.
  • Je ne veux pas aller à l’école, texte : E. Abécassis, ill.: A. Siroy, Éditions Thomas Jeunesse, 2013, 28 p.
  • Je suis capable! C’est la rentrée, D. Pelletier, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 24. p.
  • Je veux pas aller à l’école, S. Blake, École des loisirs, 2011
  • La grande école, ton album de la rentrée, texte : J. Rochefort, ill. : J Morin, Éditions Fonfon, 2011, 32 p.
  • La rentrée de Gaston, S. Yoon, Éditions Scholastic, 2016, 40 p.
  • La rentrée de papa, M. Wohnoutka, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 40 p.
  • La rentrée de Roudoudou, C. Bielinsky, Bayard Jeunesse, 2019, 26 p.
  • Le monstre des couleurs va à l’école, A. Llenas, éditions Quatre fleuves, 2019, 38 p.
  • Le premier jour d’école de Madame Pépin, texte: P. Robbins Janousky, ill.: M. Lands, Éditions Scholastic, 2017, 32 p.
  • Les Monsieur Madame et la rentrée des classes, A. Hargreaves, Hachette, 2018, 40 p.
  • Pat le chat : J’adore aller à l’école, texte: É. Litwin, ill. J. Dean, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 40 p. 
  • Princesse Paola à la maternelle, texte: J. Couëlle, ill.: M. Arbona, Éditions Planète rebelle, 2012, 32 p.
  • Roi de la maternelle, texte : D. D. Barns, ill.: V. B. Newton, Éditions Scholastic, 2020, 32 p.
  • Qui sera mon professeur?, texte: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 32 p.
  • Qui m’amènera à l’école cette année?, texte: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 32 p.
  • Sam apprend à aimer l’école, texte: S. Martel, ill.: C. Battuz, Dominique et compagnie, 2010, 24 p.


Photo : Nicolas St-Germain